04 Jul 2022, 18:14

Pujara and Pant fall but India press on against England

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, July 4, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - England removed
Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant but India remained well-placed in the
Covid-delayed fifth Test at Edgbaston on Monday.

India were 229-7 at lunch on the fourth day, a lead of 361 runs, after opener
Pujara had made 66 and Pant 57 following the wicketkeeper's dashing 146 in
India's first-innings 416.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, dropped on 10 when James Anderson failed to hold
a difficult leaping chance at extra-cover off Matthew Potts, was unbeaten on
17, having made 104 -- his maiden Test century outside of India -- in the
first innings.

History is on the side of India, 2-1 up in a five-match contest and bidding
for just a fourth Test series win in England after their 1971, 1986 and 2007

There have been only two successful fourth-innings chases above 200 in a Test
at Edgbaston, with South Africa making 283-5 in 2008 and England 211-3
against New Zealand in 1999.

England, however, reached seemingly stiff targets of 277, 299 and 296 during
a recent 3-0 whitewash of Test world champions New Zealand.

India resumed on their overnight 125-3, with Pujara 50 not out and Pant
unbeaten on 30.

Pujara had only been recalled to the top of the order after India captain
Rohit Sharma and fellow opener KL Rahul were ruled out by Covid-19 and a
groin injury respectively.

He looked in fine touch Monday, forcing England great James Anderson off the
back foot through point and clipping him off his pads for two well-struck

But the 34-year-old's four-hour innings ended when he cut Stuart Broad
straight to Alex Lees at backward point.

A clearly frustrated Pujara walked off, having now gone 50 innings since his
last Test century -- 193 against Australia at Sydney in January 2019.

Pant was dropped on 45 when Zak Crawley failed to hold a tough chance diving
to his left at second slip before a leg-glanced four off Broad, his seventh
boundary in 76 balls, took him to his fifty.

Shreyas Iyer carelessly pulled Potts to midwicket before the aggressive Pant
fell when a miscued reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Jack Leach was caught
by Joe Root at slip.

This decider should have been played in Manchester last September only to be
postponed just hours before the start because of coronavirus concerns within
the India camp.



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